Hola everyone – I’m finally getting down to actually typing out a blog post of my elective experience so far!
AND WHAT A GLORIOUS EXPERIENCE IT HAS BEEN!
It hasn’t been smooth-sailing all the way, but when you’re on a (basically) a 4 month hiatus, you don’t expect smooth sailing. So let’s start from the very beginning – a very good place to start 😉
14 May 2017 – Singapore; Malaysia (KL)
Started a week early *shhh* as I had family obligations and went to visit my grandparents in Singapore, and my girl J and her adorable babies, one of which is my very own goddaughter! *proud face* We had the best time ever and I’m sad that I didn’t have more time to spend with them.
21 May 2017 – Zurich; UK (London; East Grinstead)
So here we are – after a gruelling 13h flight from Singapore to Zurich, I managed to get off and stretch my legs and admire the peacefulness and tranquility of the airport before being shuttled back on to another flight to London, Heathrow. “Gruelling?” you say – “it’s only 13 hours”. Yes, #firstworldproblems I hate flying but I love the destination. Also, it becomes tiring when the person across the aisle from you buzzes the call bell every 30 minutes for something or the other. Much more gruelling for the air stewardess who had to continually come over…
From Zurich to London, we got croissants, coffee and Swiss chocolate for breakfast – BONUS! I was a happy camper after that. Surprisingly, I didn’t get bogged down at Heathrow for too long – basically flew through customs and grabbed my bag and boarded the Heathrow Express for Paddington. This only took an hour and cost £16 and it was pretty easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. I jumped off the train at Paddington and was like a lost child. This was where it hit me – I’m in LONDON – say what now. I took a couple of snaps and went off in search of the luggage storage place – dumped my bags and met up with Ezra. We set off to explore London and long story short, after a brilliant morning, my afternoon took a turn for the worse. TL;DR version: my first ever ambulance ride and admission into A+E as a patient, plus a doctor disparaging the choice of denim (as I couldn’t roll them up to my knees… duh they’re denim) and several blood tests later, I was free to leave with the diagnosis of…. “I don’t know, but your blood tests are normal, so *shrugs*” Much medical! I love it! Disclaimer: I am fine. Promise.
London to East Grinstead: ah – finally, on the train to East Grinstead. Takes about 1.5h from Victoria Station. Which was another huge pain in the butt to navigate as I have realised the tube stations here are SO disability-unfriendly. You have to climb a billion stairs, with my sore legs and big luggage, I was afraid I was going to miss the train to EG (which meant I would have had to wait another hour or so) but a guardian angel of a man looked at me staring at the steps in horror, paused and asked very kindly if I wanted some help. I was most definitely NOT going to say no! He carried my luggage pretty much all the way to where I needed to buy my tickets for the National Rail.. I didn’t get your name, but I thank you kind sir. Finally arriving in EG, the doctor I was staying with managed to pick me up from the train station (again thanking my lucky stars) and I was out like a light once my head touched the pillow.
Not 48 hours later – I wake up on 23 May to multiple texts about an incident here in the UK, the Manchester bombing. 11 days later, I wake up to another flurry of texts about London Bridge and stabbings in Borough Market, 3 June. This hit a little closer to home – I was there 24h ago, thanks to Rach, who wanted to meet up on Friday, instead of my usual weekend jaunt to London. Then 14 June, the Grenfell Tower fire – been pretty horrified at all this – but the locals say incidents have been happening frequently over the last few years and that they’re ‘used to it’, which is pretty anxiety-provoking.
Don’t want to end on a sad note, so a little history about Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead: It can be traced back to 1863, Green Hedges, a cottage hospital with 7 beds was opened by one of the local GPs (Dr John Henry Rodgers). East Grinstead was the fourth of its kind in the country. The word ‘cottage’ was dropped from it’s title by 1943 with the expansion during the war – 230 beds from 7!
[More to come: The History of Queen Victoria Hospital; Paris, France; Bergen/Odda, Norway; Iceland; more UK experiences]